(This list has grown by one since I started work on this tool: Hindi was added sometime in the last few weeks, and I expect the list will grow further, over time.)
I haven’t listed English, but it should also be noted that the tool can also be used to translate into English from localized versions.
To help announce the tool, I’ve put together a short YouTube video to demonstrate some of its capabilities:
I’m excited about this plugin for a number of reasons…
Firstly – from a customer perspective – I’m optimistic that this kind of technology will make the difference for customers currently having to use a product in a language they’re not overly familiar with. Machine translation doesn’t always provide great results, but it is getting better (the technology itself isn’t necessarily the problem, as much as the way the translation engine is trained: the quantity, quality and domain applicability of the material used makes a huge difference). And as this plugin checks a local XML cache before translating, it can also be used to deploy “preferred” translations, which also happens to remove the need for a live Internet connection. But anyway – the point is that while MT isn’t perfect, but it may be just enough to help make sense of something that was previously a complete mystery.
Secondly – from a technology perspective – I think it’s really cool that the core implementation of this plugin works across several products (four core ones plus the various vertical products based on them). Some product-specific code is needed to enable loading in each environment – which means a separate DLL is still needed for each main product – but the core implementation is the same. The implementation is also pretty simple: an implementation with relatively few moving parts creates some very interesting results. Results which will scale both with the languages provided by Bing and with the breadth of content added to our products’ ribbon user interface (it should work well with tooltip content you provide for your own application’s ribbon items, for instance).
A final comment on this tool: while I doubt many readers of this blog will themselves need to use this plugin to understand the capabilities of Autodesk products, please do help spread the word if you belong to a community that you feel would benefit from using it. I’m very keen to get feedback on the tool, to see how best to take it forward.
You may have noticed a lot of UI consistency introduced across these Autodesk products, in recent years, mainly due to a coordinated push from our product teams for a more consistent user experience. An internal acronym was used for the project driving consistency across these four products, which happens to be the name of a famous Nike running shoe (any guesses? ;-). We tend not to use the name externally – as it’s an existing product name – but the project has done a fantastic job of driving consistency and technology sharing across these products, ultimately paving the way for the introduction of suites.
It’s this sharing of component technology across our products – in particular of the AdWindows.dll module – that has enabled this application to work across all these products with a relatively small amount of product-specific code.
Here’s a quick screenshot of TransTips working inside 3ds Max. With 2012 there’s a fairly lightweight ribbon implementation, which means this tool doesn’t really help translate very much of 3ds Max’s functionality, but it’s something. The below image shows a tooltip being translated into Latvian:
For now I’ve held off on the crowdsourcing-related enhancements (including the hooks and UI for direct XML editing). It’s likely I’ll come back to this, at some point, but for now I’m going to wait and see how the plugin is received (and used).
In case you’re interested in bringing point cloud files that intended for – or generated/edited by – this tool into AutoCAD, I thought I’d share a quick tip. You can use the TXT2LAS tool – which I’ve used extensively in my efforts to bring point clouds into AutoCAD from Photosynthand Photofly – to convert the PTS file into a LAS, and then index/attach the file there.
PTS files are simply space-delimited text files, with the first line containing the number of points. The txt2las tool doesn’t need this number, so you can ignore the warning it’ll generate (or delete the first line from the file – your choice).
Each subsequent line is comprised of the XYZ values of the point, followed by an unknown (to me, anyway) decimal (which was the same for each point in the file I tested with, so I’ve just ignored it) and then finally the RGB values of that point: